Off to Nicaragua!

It’s official… Thrilled to volunteer with Quetzaltrekkers in León, Nicaragua starting in July!

Here’s a couple videos I found that give you a glimpse of what I’ll be doing as a hiking guide for this organization whose funds go to help niños de la calle, or local street kids.

Resources for Cheap, Free or Paid Travel

Struck by wanderlust? Want to see the world but don’t want to spend gobs of money doing it? Crave a less touristy experience in a foreign country?

Check out this compilation of the best websites to explore to get you started.

“From volunteer trips to vacations to short term jobs abroad, this list covers the spectrum of affordable and paid travel opportunities.”

In the Tampa Bay Times: Kayaking from Minnesota to Key West

“Daniel Alvarez woke up Thursday on a spoil island south of the Belleair Causeway and folded the tarp under which he had slept through pouring rain the night before. The clouds had parted for the morning sun, but he knew there would be storms ahead, so he wanted to get an early start.

He pulled his black hat down on his forehead and tucked the tarp into his 17-foot yellow sea kayak, the vessel that carried him here from Northwest Angle, Minn., the northernmost point in the lower 48, a journey of more than 3,000 miles.”

This guy is awesome. Great story by Ben Montgomery with photos and video.

Snow Fall

Check out this New York Times multimedia piece about skiers and snowboards trapped by an avalanche. It’s an interesting, somewhat-new approach that, as one writer at Poynter put it, “tells the story through text, photos, videos and interactive graphics that blend seamlessly and come alive on the Web page.”

I read this in the middle of a family snowboarding trip to Jackson Hole, Wyo., right after the resort received about a foot of fresh snow. Days later, as we rode the chairlifts, the gondola and the tram, we could look up at the rocky cliffs above us and still see giant patches of white snow pocked with black spots — leftovers of dynamite the ski patrol set off to cause controlled mini-avalanches and protect everyone at the resort.

Happy New Year!

As I welcomed 2013 and updated this site with my latest clips, I noticed a huge lack of promised blog posts from 2012.

I produced and consumed plenty of journalism throughout the fall, and I posted about it on Twitter and Facebook, but my last blog post was way back in September. I could say I’ve had a lot on my plate as a full-time student with a part-time job (albeit by far the best job on campus). But the truth is it’s been hard for me to get into the habit of blogging when the world offers so much to do and see offline and so much life to live away from my computer!

For posterity’s sake then, I’ll repost some of my Twitter and Facebook updates here before I start my whirlwind of a spring semester — my last semester AHHH!

I’ll leave you with a New Years series from The Big Picture, one of my favorite sources of photojournalism.

The sad story of Gainesville’s almost ice rink

In which I spent almost three weeks visiting the construction site of downtown Gainesville’s ice rink two or three times a day…  In which I was hit on repeatedly by the people in Bo Diddley Community Plaza… In which I watched an old man who did not need the money from this project spend two weeks sleeping in his truck…

This story earned me another front pager for the Gainesville Sun.

Originally, this was going to be a video project for a class about the rink’s construction, with a final interview of someone excited about it and shots of people happily skating. That slowly fell apart. After visiting the construction site so often with my camera, the main subject started to tell me things in passing when I wasn’t filming. These details were the most fascinating and would have helped people truly understand his character and his situation. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t say them on the record. But the story was still about a guy who was struggling but not going to give up.

When the story came out, he called to thank me for doing a nice job. He said he had thought about quitting the project in the days after our last interview, but he decided against it because he said that’s not who he was. The rink should be done by the end of the next week, he said, and he mentioned hiring me to make a promotional video about it. Later, I found out he did decide to quit the project. The rink was so close to being done! But I understand his struggles, and I hope, on some level, Gainesville does, too.

Food People

In true fashion, I finished the final project for my photography lighting class about 30 minutes before it was due. Some people just work better under pressure…

The assignment was 10 photos with a unifying theme. I chose people involved in the food cycle, and I loved getting to go behind-the-scenes at places like UF’s meat processing center and one of my favorite restaurants, The Jones B-Side. I realize the lighting, especially the rim light, is way too hot in a lot of these photos. I’d love the chance to keep working on this series. Asking people to play with food for you is fun! And it’s been a long time since I laughed as hard as I did while shooting the “pooping” shot.